10 March 2010

A Rural Retreat and Something to Eat

With more and more of the world's ever-expanding population of humans cramming themselves into cities, we are gradually either gobbling up or wasting all our food.





The Long Man of Wilmington (shown in my photograph above from May 2005) is situated on a steep, eroded hillside in the south of England. Like many other such mysterious figures in English landscapes, theories abound about its possible agricultural significance.






My picture above of Ollantaytambo in Peru (taken in January 1987) reveals some of the town's Inca features. I was particularly impressed by the irrigation channels in the streets and the huge agricultural terraces above the town. The Incas of Ollantaytambo knew the value of their food, growing it within a formidable fortress.





The distinguished Pakistani gentleman above (in my photograph of November 1985) may be a descendant of the ancient Indus Civilization. The landscape around his home was rather parched during my visit, however.

Perhaps water will be more of a political issue than oil in the future, all around the world.






For most of 1988, I was working near Euston Railway Station in London, England. A few months later, I was travelling through Euston in New South Wales, Australia (my picture above of January 1989). The Australian Euston is very different from the English one.

I was surprised by the flatness of the Australian agricultural landscape, the lack of traffic, and the lack of evidence of much food growing near the main road. Perhaps I was more interested, at the time, in enjoying the peace and wide horizons, rather than thinking about the local and global economy.

Yet now I think of the water politics in Australia, especially as I rely on the same river for my survival as the one irrigating crops for export. Should water from the semi-deserts of Australia be exported so that more Australians can buy imported flat screen televisions?





Perhaps the woman in the picture above would not have experienced many problems with drought. I met her while I was exploring the lush landscapes of Indonesia in 1990. The bananas plants were grown in the highly fertile volcanic soils on Mount Merapi.

With droughts, fires, floods, earthquakes, erupting volcanoes, soil erosion, urban expansion, oil depletion, water pollution, population pressures, and interpersonal injustices, I at least try to make my modest suburban home and garden into a "rural" retreat. I even attempt to grow some of my own food.

And I truly appreciate having something delicious and nutritious to eat.

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